Conde Lucanor wrote: ↑
Sun Dec 10, 2017 2:55 am
For the solipsist, the self in the "ourselves" is constituted by pure consciousness. It's the only thing known to exist and nothing independent of it is justified. Since the solipsist can only rely on his/her own individual consciousness, they are restricted to believe that there's only one solipsist in the universe.
I do not think that is true. The solipsist does not propose a metaphysical theory, that there is some substance; 'consciousness'
, that 'exists
' and of which their own consciousness is a part.
Nor does the solipsist think they can 'rely' on their own individual consciousness. We could only come to 'rely' on our consciousness if we could somehow compare our consciousness to something outside our consciousness, such that we could see that the two 'reliably' corresponded.
For a solipsist, there's no justification to theorize something to be "outside consciousness", while consciousness itself is certain.
What is it 'certain
' about? If there is nothing outside consciousness - or nothing we can possibly access because we are trapped within our consciousness - then what would being 'certain' mean?
To be certain of something is to think that our beliefs correspond to something exterior
to our beliefs. If we consider that what is exterior to our mind (if anything) is unknowable
, then (for a solipsist) consciousness is not 'certain', it is simply all we have.
The post I originally responded to was:
As Searle pointed out: solipsism refutes itself. If you're a solipsist, you don't believe this forum and its people actually exist. Expecting that a second solipsist shows up implies wanting solipsism to be proven false.
That is not what a solipsist believes. To say I cannot have certainty whether X is true is not the same as saying that I am certain that X is false.
For solipsists, to say that there's a possibility to know that X is true, would imply that there's a possibility to know something independent of their consciousness, which of course they can't do without stopping being solipsists. For them, any inquiry about X is bound to fail. So, Searle's point is well made.
Solipsists do not say 'there's a possibility to know that X is true'
. They say that all our ideas about what might be 'true' or 'false' must be ultimately grounded in our own consciousness. Therefore, for me to say 'X is true
' is ultimately to refer to my own consciousness.
So, if a solipsist says 'this forum exists
', they consider they are describing their own state of mind. The 'inquiry about X (that is) is bound to fail'
is one which seeks a criteria for 'existence' that isn't
dependent on our own minds - something metaphysical, like a 'God's-eye view
' or whatever.
Maybe there is a God, maybe he 'sees' things as they really are, but since we have no access to his view then it makes no sense for us to base an understanding of the meaning of words like 'real' or 'true' on something we can know nothing about.
Searle (if he is being accurately represented) is saying that if a solipsist claims to have a metaphysical
idea of 'real' and 'true' and 'exist' etc. they would not be a solipsist. That would be right...however they don't.